American Pain I, 2013

Video, drawings, collages, sound




American Pain, ongoing project since 2009, consisting of collages, drawings, videos and video installations

show Wineke Gartz, American Pain


American Pain started with a copy: while I was xerox copying the cover to the book 'A history of American Painting' the 'ting' fell off. 

American Pain is a multi layered installation combining video, drawings, collage, and sound mixes. It involves an investigation of the American dream landscape in which Wineke Gartz speculates on a link between 19th Century American “Luminist” landscape paintings (by artists such as Thomas Cole) and Mohegan Sun, a Native American operated casino complex[i]. Gartz uses the Mohegan Sun Casino as a departure point to examine themes of entertainment, exploitation, and healing. In its use of multiple media and viewpoints the installation is characteristic of Gartz’s lightness of touch. The arcadian setting integrates her drawings and use of signs, which refer to similar allegorical symbols prevalent across cultures, such as the feather, the horse or the cross. She puts together different content such as photocopies from research on American landscape paintings, and the tender drawings of Native American life by the Swiss explorer Rudolph Friedrich Kurz. In the soundtrack fragments of Miserere Mei, Deus sung by a choir is heard. The two videos in the work portray golden and red lit hallucinatory, sensual dreams, depicting the artist's body in red light. Central to the video imagery is how the artist twins the notions of oppression with the healing power of presence. Amongst these depictions, the artist uses scenes from Cole’s painting of the biblical story of Abel, whose murdered corpse she overlays onto her own body. Although the sources and subjects relating to American Pain seek to form a composite portrayal on a history of trauma and hope, it similarly evokes the irrational and the erotic.


[1]  Mohegan Sun’s interior refers to native american culture and symbols.